According to Falana in a statement issued on Thursday, “Since the Buhari administration has vowed to end corruption and impunity in the country, it must ensure that no public officer is permitted to abuse his or her office. Institutions established by law should be allowed to discharge their statutory duties in line with the rule of law.” According to him, “The NCC has been vested with the exclusive powers to regulate the telecommunications industry. To that extent, the NSA lacks the power to interfere in the dispute between the NCC and MTN in any manner whatsoever.” He explained that in recent past, the All Progressives Congress (APC) condemned the usurp of the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by a former NSA, who caused the 2015 general election to be postponed for six weeks. Falana said to end the grand impunity associated with the office of the NSA, the APC-led government should be under a moral and legal duty to ensure that the occupier of the office is restricted to the duty advising the president on national security. The federal government, he advised, should direct the NSA to stop interfering in the discharge of the statutory responsibilities of the NCC. Citing the case of Adebowale & Others v Comptroller-General of Prisons (2015) 1 NHRLR (pt 1) 15, where the federal high court held that the order of the NSA authorising the detention of 22 Nigerian citizens evacuated from Libya, was illegal and unconstitutional, Falana said it was the view of the trial judge that the NSA had usurped the powers of the minister of interior in the circumstance. He said consequently, the court ordered the immediate release of the applicants and awarded them reparation to atone for their illegal attention. NCC had last week, fined MTN the sum of N1.04 trillion for violating its directive on SIM deactivation. Giving reasons for the fine, NCC said Commission had consistently engaged Mobile Network Operators, (MNOs) to strictly adhere to the regulations and its business rules in the registration of their subscribers. NCC said in spite of these several engagements, the commission confirmed various cases of violations of the regulations and sanctioned appropriately. Consistent with the commission’s mandate and its regulatory process, the commission monitored MNOs compliance with the above regulations and in 2012, observed irregularities in the registration process. Given the recent security concerns in the country, government held several meetings with MNOs on the need to ensure only properly registered SIM cards are active on their networks. On August 4, 2015, another high level meeting was held with the MNOs. Consequent upon which earlier directives were reinforced with a deadline to deactivate all invalid/improperly registered SIM cards within seven days ending August 11, 2015. Three days after the deadline, the commission carried out a Compliance Audit of all the MNOs from 14th to 18th August, 2015. The outcome of the Audit showed that while all other MNOs complied substantially with the directive to deactivate improperly registered SIM cards, MTN showed no sign of compliance at all.]]>

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